An experienced travel agent has the advantage over an OTA.
The choice of hotel can make a holiday great or leave a nasty taste, which is why it’s an important decision. If your clients are seasoned travellers, they have more than likely got their favourite accommodation – if it’s not broken don’t fix it. However, for new clients or for the adventurous, I’d look at these key components when deciding on booking accommodation.
Profile the customer
So it might not be broken, but do you really know what your pax wants, or is it what you thought, or just what they told you? A great chance to upsell can exist in providing that something much better for just a little more. Shows you are doing your job as well. Also, if something goes wrong with a hotel they chose themselves, less pressure on you to resolve it.
Location, Location, Location!
This saying isn’t just reserved for buying property. It’s one of the most important factors when deciding on a hotel. As nice as the hotel is, do you really want to spend half of your holiday taking public transport or taxis to and from your accommodation? The appeal of a cheaper hotel could end up costing you more when factoring this in.
Check out the address on a map and if a hotel has multiple locations in a city, check which one you booked.
How can you trust some of them I hear you say? And I would agree, however when you have 10 reviews that have very similar complaints it’s hard to ignore. Sometimes reviews from popular websites such as TripAdvisor should be taken with a grain of salt, as it’s been well documented that there can be fake reviews posted.
It’s just as important to look for the bad as the good. If there are a lot of poor reviews, it’s worth checking around for a third opinion.
Word Of Mouth
One of the best reviews you can get is from word of mouth. How often do you hear stories from friends and family after they’ve returned back home from a holiday, and provided a play-by-play of their trip? If they’ve loved a hotel that they stayed at, you’re more than likely going to want to stay there too!
This is very important if a pax comes to you saying “I want this property”. Whilst this creates “all care, no responsibility” it’s good to know which mouth the word came out of. Is your plumber the right one to take a 5 star hotel recommendation from?
Ultimately, you the travel agent have the biggest say and could influence your client’s decision. Each client is different, with certain needs and requirements, and that’s where an experienced travel agent has the advantage over an OTA.